Rosy cheeks not from blushing

Q: I am by no means a heavy drinker.

I do like to have a few drinks here and there at social events. However, after my first drink it is written all over my face that I have consumed alcohol.

My cheeks become a dark red and my whole body gets very hot. Why does this happen, and is there anyway for me to control this reaction?

Signed, Rosy Cheeks

A: There may be more than one cause for your pink cheeks after drinking alcohol.

First of all, you may be allergic to alcohol itself. An allergic reaction will cause dilation of blood vessels and cause an instantaneous flashing effect with an increase in temperature and colouring of your skin by delivering more blood to the surface.

It will usually subside after 30 minutes to an hour. However, it can be prolonged, and with continuous drinking, may last all evening.

Drinking lots of cool water can help bring you back to normal faster by increasing hydration in your body.

You need to pay attention if your rosy cheeks occur with some specific type or brand of alcohol or is it equally prevalent no matter what you drink.

If it is only happening with some alcohol and not with others, you may be allergic to the raw material from which your drink has been distilled. For example, if it happens while consuming vodka and not whiskey, you may be allergic to wheat but not other grains.

Often people with an alcohol allergy also have other allergies and that needs to be addressed if you want to control your symptoms.

Perhaps you should see a doctor to rule out other possible conditions such a rosacea.

It is estimated that more than two million Canadians — almost 10 per cent of the population suffer from rosacea — making it a very common disease.

It may resemble teenage acne, without blackheads or whiteheads.

Rosacea often occurs in fair-skinned people of eastern or northern European descent.

Women are more likely to get rosacea than men; however, men are more likely to experience more severe symptoms.